Lending has been around in some form for thousands of years — dating back to ancient civilizations where farmers would borrow seeds and use crops as repayment.
The arrival of fiat currencies transformed the way economies were run back then. Indeed, you could argue that we’re seeing such a seismic shift now as cryptocurrencies become a larger and more influential part of the world’s financial ecosystem.
When done right, crypto lending has the potential to level the playing field — giving consumers a type of flexibility that they may otherwise have been unaccustomed to. For several years now, the rates offered by banks have been tepid to say the least. In some countries, even the most generous savings accounts will only pay less than 1% interest — even if funds are locked up for several years.
Given how inflation has been rising sharply recently, in part because of the money printing performed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, signing up for one of these accounts means a saver’s money would actually command less spending power down the line.
Crypto lending offers three powerful advantages compared with the status quo. First, it is possible to find more competitive deals that ensure capital actually grows — with interest sometimes paid on a weekly or a monthly basis. Second, many platforms offer a much-needed degree of flexibility to lenders, meaning that they won’t be forced to lock up their money for long periods of time and can withdraw their funds at will. And third, it can act as a powerful incentive when markets are behaving rather erratically.
That’s before we’ve even discussed the fact that crypto as collateral can be far more practical from a lender’s point of view than real estate — an asset that is rather illiquid and can be rather time consuming to sell.
It isn’t just lenders who benefit
Of course, all of this sounds like a good deal for lenders — the people who have capital to spare. But it can also be beneficial for borrowers, too. In the current financial ecosystem, where a single blemish on an otherwise impeccable credit history can deny a responsible consumer access to the best interest rates, crypto platforms can offer an invaluable lifeline.
Banks often have an opaque list of requirements when it comes to finding the people they are willing to extend credit to. And, in a world where ever-increasing numbers of consumers are self-employed, otherwise creditworthy applicants can end up being excluded from the market simply because they don’t have a traditional nine-to-five job — irrespective of whether they actually earn more money in their current arrangement.
The crypto world can help to foster inclusivity here, but there are challenges. A number of lenders in this space are offshore and unregulated — something that can make them less appealing to everyday consumers. This also restricts the number of partnerships that crypto platforms can enter into with fintech firms.
A new approach?
One platform that is aiming to shake up the world of lending is Baanx, a crypto-as-a-service fintech intending to bridge the worlds of crypto and fiat. The company allows brands to offer interest-free forms of secured lending to their customers and communities, alongside high savings rates for those who stake their digital assets. This is all achieved via APIs that can be rapidly integrated into any DeFi, exchange, or wallet’s app or website.
This form of interest free and low cost secured lending is provided to those who stake BXX, the utility coin that’s associated with Baanx. Loans can subsequently be moved into crypto wallets or physical and virtual cards. For those who use Bitcoin and Ether as collateral, loan-to-value ratios of up to 50% are available, and approval can be achieved in one click.
Baanx is on the list of temporarily registered cryptoasset businesses with the FCA and also utilizes a lending license. The project’s whitepaper states that it will “lend against any digital asset including cryptos, stocks, bonds and the emerging NFT asset class.”
The volumes of money that can be offered through lending will depend on the volumes of tokens that are staked within its system.
Figures provided by Baanx suggest that the platform now has sold more than 600,000 white-label cards and accounts around the world — almost exclusively through branded corporate clients, including Tezos Crypto Life app, DeFi protocols, exchanges, and wallet providers. It is also planning to launch with a major wallet provider in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2021.
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